Quick poll on debugging and tooling for Flex and PHP projects

As you know, one of my focuses as a Platform evangelist is Flex and PHP integration. Thus you can imagine I spend quite a lot of time doing Flex and PHP projects or research around these technologies. Lately I’ve been working on workflows for PHP and Flex (tooling, debugging, libraries) in light of the new tools (or new versions) we have been developing at Adobe. While some of these findings will see the light as articles, others are more intended as suggestions or feature request for upcoming versions of Flash Builder.

I’m really curious to find out:

  • What tools are you using?
  • What do you use for debugging?
  • What frameworks (AMFPHP, Zend Framework, Doctrine etc) do you use when working on Flex and PHP projects?
  • And the most important question: What features do you think Flash Builder needs in order to make you a happier/richer developer?

Please take some time and drop a comment with your thoughts around these questions.

And because I understand it takes some time to answer these questions, I want to give away three Flash Builder 4 licenses. I will choose randomly three lucky people from those who take the survey. The winners will be announced at the end of March, however you’ll get the licenses once we release Flash Builder 4 (now it is in Beta 2). Make sure you fill in your real name and a valid email address.

LATER EDIT: The winners of this raffle are: Mario Kralj, chandra shekhar pant, and Ben Dalton! Congratulations and pretty soon you’ receive the license.

Google, Flash, and devices

Yesterday, during the Mobile World Congress keynote, Eric Schmidt (Google’s CEO) announced Google’s support for the Flash Platform. They see this as a competitive advantage over certain smartphones on the market.

At about 60,000 Android handsets sold each day, you can see how this newcomer is starting to become a force in the mobile ecosystem. And having support for the Flash Platform means business opportunities for many web developers out there.

Mobiles definitely are hot these days. I think the new kid on the block would be the new generation of tablet PCs. And as usual, the coolness is not in the piece of silicon and iron itself, it’s all about how the whole will work: software and hardware together providing immersive experiences. Take for example what the Adobe XD department together with WIRED magazine created using Adobe AIR. This is a glimpse into how future print media could look and be consumed on connected devices. You can watch the video here.


Adobe AIR for desktop and mobile applications

We just announced at MWC (Mobile World Congress) that the first mobile OS that will run AIR is Android (others will come). In fact, if you are in Barcelona the next few days, drop by the Adobe booth to see demos of AIR applications working on Motorola Droid. If you can’t drop by in person, you can watch videos with Kevin Hoyt demoing AIR on Droid.

What does it mean? Let’s put it this way: if you are a Flash developer, then pretty soon you’ll be able to develop applications (web or standalone) targeting Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2 on a huge number of devices (laptops, net books, desktops, mobile phones) and across different OSs (Win, OS X, Linux, Android, Symbian, and Palm OS).

Of course the number and diversity of the targets are impressive, but what I think is even more important  for any developer/business than this, is that you can use the same workflows/tools and produce a consistent result.

I’m lucky enough to have a Nexus One for about a week by now. Testing different sites that use Flash Player, it feels kind of magic :D (as a Platform evangelist I have an early version of Flash Player 10.1 installed on the phone). Can’t wait to have the time to write some apps for Android, I have a couple of ideas. This means I will have firsthand experience in using our tools to produce apps for the mobile world.

What about you? Anyone feels like it is time to step up into a new market/world (from web/desktop apps to mobile)?

Performance advancements in Flash Player 10.1 on Mac

Tinic Uro, an engineer on the Flash Player team, wrote a post about the performance improvements of Flash Player 10.1 on OS X 10.6 and some of the internals. I know this is a hot subject these days, so I thought I’d let you know about this. I think this demonstrates that we really want to improve the performance across all operating systems and we are really working towards this goal.

You can read the post here.

Flex SDK 3.5a is out

Yesterday we released Flex SDK 3.5a, an update to Flex SDK 3.5. This is from the Flex Team blog:

The Flex team has released an update to the 3.5 SDK that addresses an issue with the Flex-based AIR auto-update UI packaged within the SDK (SDK-24766). The refreshed build, SDK 3.5a, has only a few files modified in order to fix this issue and this change does not affect the signing and caching of the SDK 3.5 RSLs originally released in December.

We encourage all developers using SDK 3.5 to upgrade their build to SDK 3.5a to continue their development. The SDK 3.5a can be found in the “Latest Milestone Release Build” table here: http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Download+Flex+3.

Basically, this release fixes a bug related to the Update Framework: ApplicationUpdaterUI no longer works in Flex 3.5.

AIR 2 Beta 2 is out

We are a step closer to the final release of AIR 2 with the release of Beta 2. You can download the new bits from here.

Some of the new features are:

  • Enhanced Printer Interaction. New printing support allows finer control of the way content is printed from an AIR application, including the choice of printer, paper size, and number of copies. The new API allows developer to check for printable area, whether the printer support colors, or if the print job is active.
  • Support for TLS/SSL socket communication. You can connect to a server that requires TLSv1 or SSLv3 for socket communication.
  • IME API and IME Text Input Enhancement. There are several new features added in this release to support better text input handling with IME software. The new API enhancements are designed for use with the new Flash Text Engine (FTE).

If you use the Update Framework, please keep in mind that there are two UI versions: one uses Flex 4 (frameworks/libs/air/applicationupdater_ui.swc) and the other Flex 3 (frameworks/libs/air/flex3/applicationupdater_ui3.swc).

You can not run the Beta 1 applications with this version. You need to update the application descriptor file to “2.0beta2”. All the sample applications we provided with the first Beta were updated so you can download them and run them with Beta 2.